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  • Eric Ulken 2:14 am on March 19, 2009
    Tags: BarCamp, BBC,   

    ‘Spontaneous bashing together of ideas’ 

    That’s how BeeBCamp, a BarCamp-style unconference held at the BBC last month, was described on the organization’s public blog. My OJR piece on BeeBCamp and “innovation events” in general is up. If your organization has held such an event, please share your experience.

    • Ben 10:03 am on March 20, 2009

      I was recently told that barcamps need not include alcohol — and that origin is in fact the infamous programming filler, foobar. A bit of a disappointment. If journalists can have any influence on the programming world, I hope it might be moving things from hotel ballrooms to trashy bars.

  • Eric Ulken 7:17 pm on February 9, 2009
    Tags: Alison Gow, BBC, Birmingham Post, Joanna Geary, Jonathan Ross, Kevin Anderson, Marc Reeves, Peter Horrocks, Phillip Schofield, Sarah Hartley, , Suw Charman-Anderson, ,   

    England notes, part 1: Twitter is huge 

    Jonathan Ross (aka @wossy)

    People (and particularly media people) here are crazy about Twitter. Simple observation suggests the microblogging phenomenon is even bigger here than it is in the U.S., and the stats seem to bear that out.

    But why is Twitter so big here? One possible explanation, offered by social media consultant Suw Charman-Anderson (aka @suw), is the enthusiastic use of the tool by some big-name Brits. To wit:

    In the newspaper industry here, lots of people are twittering, and not just casually. Just ask @foodiesarah (Sarah Hartley, online editor for the Manchester Evening News), @alisongow (Alison Gow, deputy editor of the Liverpool Daily Post), @kevglobal (Kevin Anderson, blogs editor for The Guardian and spouse of the aforementioned @suw) and @joannageary (Joanna Geary, development editor at the Birmingham Post). Joanna’s boss, @marcreeves (Marc Reeves, editor of the Birmingham Post), even has his Twitter URL on his business card. How many American newspaper editors could say the same?

    As development editor — a role that includes overseeing the newspaper’s efforts in social media — Joanna managed to get the Post to devote occasional space in the paper to explaining Twitter. Tapping her Twitter network, she organized a group of reader experts to act as unpaid bloggers on a variety of topics (see the authors of the Lifestyle blog for a sampling). And, job seekers take note: Her avid Twittering is no doubt partly responsible for her new gig at The Times of London, which starts next month.

    The Birmingham Post isn’t the only U.K. newspaper to spill ink about Twitter: The Daily Telegraph went so far as to publish a full Twitter guide, including step-by-step instructions on how to tweet and a piece on “why the world is Twitter-crazy.” (That may be overreaching a little: It’s worth pointing out that Twitter is by one measure only the 23rd most visited social network in the U.K., but apparently all social networks are not created equal.)

    I should also note that, while the rate of Twitter adoption here is high, usage doesn’t necessarily correlate with understanding. For a particularly embarrassing illustration of this, here’s a cautionary tale from the BBC: Multimedia newsroom boss Peter Horrocks last week sent what he thought was a direct message on Twitter to a colleague, Richard Sambrook, discussing some high-level appointments. Except he sent it as an @-reply, visible to the candidates being discussed, along with the unsuccessful candidates and everybody else in the world for that matter. Ouch.


    Also: London is the birthplace of the Twestival, a social gathering of Twitter users that has turned into a global event. (The next Twestival is this Thursday, Feb. 12, in 175 cities around the world. Unfortunately, the London Twestival is sold out, so if I’m going I guess I’ll have to find another city.) And… There’s even an online Twitter newspaper here, the All Tweet Journal. Points for the name, at the very least.


    Next: Tough times for some U.K. papers

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